This mac and cheese recipe has been on our site for a while, but when we were lucky enough to get our hands on this gorgeous NY shaped skillet from American Skillet Company we knew what to do. This is mac and cheese at it’s best and the internet agrees with us – Martha Stewart’s Mac & Cheese is a classic. The only thing we change is to throw some kale into the noodles while they’re cooking. But, let’s talk about these skillets for a minute!
American Skillet Company is a small operation based out of Madison, WI. They’re producing these state shaped skillets by hand, and NY is their latest release! The skillets are seasoned with organic flax oil over a hardwood fire, yielding one of the smoothest seasonings I’ve seen. We’ve put our NY skillet on the grill, in the oven, and over the stovetop. It’s also a great serving dish! You can chill it for keeping salads cool at a picnic or pile some cookies in it. They also make great hangers so that your skillet can double as a piece of art while you’re not using it!
Our regular kale mac and cheese makes a big pan, so if you’re feeding a crowd head over here. This batch is perfect for date night or when you’re serving something else as the center of your meal. Any variety of kale will work, in this dish we’re using heirloom Red Russian Kale. A few mac and cheese tips – undercook the noodles. I can’t stress this enough, if you cook them all the way your mac and cheese will be mushy. Undercooked noodles will continue to cook in the sauce. Test the bechamel for doneness by dragging your finger through the back of the spoon. You should be able to draw a clean line when it’s done.
I went ahead and just piled the skillet high, then baked it on top of a baking pan in case it got too bubbly. The results were perfect! If you prefer you can fill the skillet and bake any leftovers in a small ramekin (mac and cheeese for 1??). The original recipe calls for good quality white bread, and I love to use a baguette. I always keep leftover baguettes in the freezer for croutons, breadcrumbs, etc.
Kale Mac & Cheese for 2
1 1/2 cups dry macaroni tube shaped pasta
2 cups cleaned and chopped kale, stems removed
1 cup good quality cubed white bread
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the skillet
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup grated white cheddar
1 cup grated pecorino romano or gruyere cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 NY shaped skillet
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease skillet. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with one tablespoon salt. Cook pasta and kale together for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk.
Make the sauce. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Add 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Stir the pasta and kale into the sauce.
Transfer the macaroni mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, and then the bread cubes. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, or until the bread and cheese are browned.